Wednesday, 3 August 2011 11:04 AM
Going on a hiking holiday can be an extremely exhilarating and enjoyable experience, but to ensure it is remembered for all the right reasons it is important to keep a few pointers in mind when packing your outdoor clothing.
Of course, when you are set to spend days travelling on foot, you are likely to be keen to ensure your backpack is not overly heavy so that you can get on with enjoying your surroundings, rather than having to stop and give your shoulders a rest.
But making sure everything you need is close at hand does not mean getting stuck with a huge pile of luggage for your trip.
The first thing you should do is assess the weather in the place you are visiting. For instance, if you are going hiking through Peru to reach the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu, you will need very different garments to those required for a trek through the cold peaks of Tibet.
In addition to temperature, you should also consider other aspects of the climate, such as whether the destination you are visiting is dry, humid, cold or prone to heavy rain.
A further factor is what manner of hiking holiday you are taking. If you plan to spend your days walking before staying at a hotel then you can afford to be a little less cautious than if you will be camping out each night and only taking one bag.
Once you have thought about all of this, you can start to select the clothing that you will need.
Footwear is perhaps the most important item to pack for a hiking holiday as you will be incredibly reliant on it. Choose the wrong style and your feet may be too cold or too hot, while not selecting a pair that fit correctly could leave you with nasty blisters.
A good, all-round pair of walking boots is probably the best option, particularly if they are waterproof and breathable, as they will be sturdy enough to see you through the whole trip.
In terms of clothing, it pays to think in layers. By choosing several lightweight garments you can peel them off or add them as necessary, while you won't be using up valuable space in your pack with bulky items.
A good quality breathable fleece is an excellent choice as it is not heavy to carry, is warm and yet thin enough to wear under a waterproof coat. It is also soft so you could wear it at night as well if you are camping.
Meanwhile, lightweight walking trousers are another wise addition to your luggage. Like shorts, they will stop your legs from feeling weighed down and hot as you walk, but they also have the added advantage of keeping your skin covered up and safe from strong sun, sticky mud and creepy-crawlies.
Along with your footwear and a waterproof coat, these could be the most important garments in your backpack, leaving you free to throw in a few more layers.
By taking this approach, you should have space to spare for the other vital items you will need on most hiking trips, such as your water bottle, map, compass, torch, first aid kit and, of course, your camera.
Indeed, if you make time to shop for your hiking gear well in advance you will quickly discover that your forward-thinking has paid dividends once you arrive at your destination, as you will know you have everything you need to enjoy your trekking adventure.